Could it be true? A powder to clean up oil safely - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Could it be true? A powder to clean up oil safely

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) -

By Rebecca Powers – bio | email

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Imagine if there was a powder that could solidify oil, be picked up easily and burned like coal at a power plant?

A Long Beach businessman says that is exactly what Nochar Polymers do. So he teamed up with one of the four companies that distribute it in the U.S.

On Tuesday, they demonstrated how it works, hoping to get the word out and the polymers in the water.

During a demonstration of the polymer, Mark Flick of Grand Innovations said, "I'm going to show you couple of applications instantly, so you can see hands on how it's going to work once it's deployed, how quickly it will work."

Since April 20, Jimmy Levens of JLB Levens Builders has been looking for an answer to clean up oil without harming the environment. He thinks he's found it.

"This our second demonstration, probably we'll do one more tomorrow," Levens said.

He spoke to about six companies before deciding on Grand Innovations" of Michigan. It distributes Nochar Polymers that bind oil instantly.

"We really liked the product and they had a history of collecting the product, so we built a mechanical theory of how we could pick it up," Levens said.

So the two companies teamed up. JLB out of Long Beach demonstrated how the polymers can be used, not only in the water to solidify the crude, but on objects like rocks or boats that get contaminated.

Mark Flick sprinkled powder on a piece of metal covered in oil. The results were quite impressive.

"When it's here, it's back to rusty metal or whatever it happens to be and it comes off just that easy," Flick said.

Levens believes the partnership will work perfectly, brains and brawn to solve a mounting disaster.

"We think we got the mechanical arm and they got the technology of the product," Levens said.

But if the product is so effective, why isn't it already in use?

"I think it's just getting it to the right people, and I think that's why we're talking to you right now. We talked to some of the politicians yesterday."

The two men hope to cut through the red tape quickly enough to get the Nochar Polymer into the water soon.

"We have a lot of interest in it, but we just can't seem to get to the right people and that's what our ultimate goal is here."

The men say once the solid oil is picked up, it can burn just like coal. That's what brought a Mississippi Power representative to the demonstration.

Wednesday, they hope to show the product to Dr. Bill Walker, director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. They want the DMR to see how safe it can work without harming wildlife or the environment.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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